Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1

Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1I've only just seen photos and a brief specification of the new Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 announced a few days ago at the PMA 2006 show in Orlando. It looks like a really interesting camera. Interesting because as far as I know this is Panasonic's first digital SLR camera and is also the first non-Olympus Four Thirds camera. Really interesting because of the image stabilisation and the Leica lens attached.

Sharing a number of components with the Olympus E-330 EVOLT, the new camera features many of the benefits of the E-330, the most important being the full-time live view not available in any other digital SLR camera.

The most appealing features of this new camera in my opinion are;

  • Leica D 14-50 mm F2.8-F3.5 lens,

  • Aperture control on the Leica lens (no fiddling with little buttons),

  • Shutter speeds on a knob on the body,

  • Bounce flash on the body, and,

  • That it looks like it handles like a largish rangefinder camera (apart from the focus mechanism)

It should also be compatible with Four Thirds lenses from Olympus and Sigma, which means that there is already a wide range of optics (5 newly announced from Sigma and 15 from Olympus) with focal lengths ranging from 7mm to 500mm (angles of view of 14mm to 1000mm in 35mm terms).

The Four Thirds system has been around for a while now and although the cameras have been technologically interesting and have been fervently supported by celebrity photographers like Lord Litchfield (which probably helped them to sell quite a few more than they would have done otherwise), they have never really appealed to me.

Panasonic has been making some very interesting digital point and shoot cameras recently, the Lumix DMC-LX1 and the Lumix DMC-TZ1 are two that I have liked the look of but was I disappointed with the resultant image quality of the LX1. I still want my 20D/30D but I really wouldn't mind borrowing a L1 for a few days to see what the handling and results are like.

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